Sanofi unit launches transplant awareness effort

BRIDGEWATER, NJ: The Sanofi Oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplant Information Network, a nonprofit support organization, has launched a campaign to raise awareness about the importance of stem cell transplants to treat blood cancers.

BRIDGEWATER, NJ: The Sanofi Oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplant Information Network, a nonprofit support organization, has launched a campaign to raise awareness about the importance of stem cell transplants to treat blood cancers.

The campaign's launch coincides with the increased media attention on blood cancers as Good Morning America's Robin Roberts is battling myelodysplastic syndrome, a rare disease also known as preleukemia, said Carrie Brown, director of communications for Sanofi's US oncology division.

“We had been thinking about launching an initiative but we moved more urgently given the level of coverage her situation was receiving,” she said. Roberts is not involved with the effort, Brown said.

The goal of Sanofi's effort is to highlight the major types of stem cell transplants – autologous and allogeneic –and how important they can be for people with various forms of blood cancer.

In an autologous transplant, the patient receives his or her own stem cells. The procedure is usually performed so higher doses of chemotherapy can be given to treat blood cancers such as multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, and amyloidosis, according to the pharma company.

In an allogeneic transplant, the patient receives healthy stem cells from a well-matched donor to replace his own stem cells that have been damaged by diseases such as myelodysplastic syndromes.  

Sanofi and the BMT Information Network hope that consumers knowing about the treatments will lead to informed discussion with physicians should the need for a transplant arise.

To promote the effort, the organizations are using a mix of media relations and a radio media tour featuring Parameswaran Hari, section head and director of the Adult Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

The campaign was developed in-house without agency assistance, Brown said. Ketchum won some Sanofi-Aventis business last year.

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